Poor Pakistan puzzle Younus

Islamabad, June 08: Pakistan captain Younus Khan was left struggling to explain his side’s lacklustre display after their comprehensive 48-run loss to England in the ICC World Twenty20.

Sloppy fielding by the 2007 finlaists helped England to a competitive 185 for five at the Oval on Sunday, featuring 58 from Kevin Pietersen, while the Pakistan reply never got going.

Three wickets in the powerplay left Pakistan well behind the run-rate and Younus, who finished unbeaten on 46, could only watch from the other end as a succession of batsmen came and went.

“I would never had thought we would end up chasing 185,” Younus told reporters. “Our fielding was bad and we easily gave away 20-25 runs.

“This is a matter of concern for us. I have no idea why our fielders are unable to field properly. It is not as if we are not working hard but we are not just getting it right for reasons unknown to me.”

Pakistan, whose homeland has become a virtual no-go zone for the rest of world cricket following the armed attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March, have been starved of international competition in recent months.

And now they must not only beat the Netherlands, shock four-wicket winners over England in Friday’s tournament opener, they must do so by a large margin at Lord’s on Tuesday if they are to join the hosts in the Super Eights.

“We will have to do it because if we don’t we will be out of the competition,” said Younus of the need for a big win against the Dutch.

“Hopefully the senior guys will come forward and do a job for our team. It’s the only chance we have. The onus lies on the senior guys like Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik and myself.”

But while the rest of the world’s leading sides treat Twenty20 almost as seriously as nearly all other international cricket, Younus was conscious of the founding principle behind its creation as a professional sport.

“It is international cricket but it is only a fun game,” he said. “It will be sad for us not to reach the Super Eights but it won’t be a disaster.

“At the moment we have a couple of guys who are struggling but Shahid Afridi could score a hundred in the next game.

“Twenty20 cricket is all about entertaining the crowd, about fun.”